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Old 01-22-2019, 08:12 PM   #61
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Quite interesting. That strikes me as a euro input/US output isolation transformer. Using a center tap output that is decidedly not euro. And u have provision for boosting the lousy 208V pedestals. I rather like it, since it loads contacts less, has some lightning immunity and could operate in euro style docks if it was designed for 50/60 Hz.
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Old 01-23-2019, 12:11 AM   #62
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Well, just thinking here....
I'd add a single 30A inlet. Have both -- both 220 and 110.

I saw a boat with a separate 20A inlet to power an electric heater during the winter. It was a totally isolated power source. One male inlet on the outside of the boat, connected via a power cable to a female outlet mounted inside the boat mounted nearby. The fellow plugged in a portable heater to that outlet when needed.

I don't recall a fuse/breaker. I thought the set-up was interesting.

I'm envisioning a larger 30A male for your 110 needs.
As you have 110 aboard, why not a dedicated 110 inlet on your boat? Use that to power your inverter and charger. You'll have to isolate it from your 220, but I believe it is do-able.

Just pondering...

As an aside, I didn't get by today to the Legion. I started with one small project to do just after noon. This was one of those fifteen minute jobs. Three hours later it, along with a couple other "while I'm at it" things, and all were done.

Projects are like bunnies. They multiply.

And then it's getting dark. Seaweed is not the fastest boat. Later this week the weather reports are not too great. I don't go when moderate or choppy is predicted. Smooth or light chop only works well for me.

Anyway, I'd like to peek at your set-up in person. (mainly 'cause I'm interested in how others set up their systems)
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Old 01-23-2019, 08:10 AM   #63
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Chris,

Kinda wondered what the thinking was all the 220v stuff. Also, I cannot connect shore power to anything but a 50a service (or 2 30s out of phase). Would love to be able to plug in a 30a and keep the batter charged, run a micro. I have a 30 at my dock and would be easy. To install a 50a will not be cheap.... thats next on the list.

Might depend on what year yours was built but... I can plug in to a 30A or even a 15A circuit and then use simple adapters to eventually connect to tour 50A power cord...

Haven't fully checked to see what runs, don't know if that feeds both of our 110V "lines" but it's been enough to charge our pre-AGM batteries occasionally when we were on the hard for a winter...

I think that's because we don't have an isolation transformer, though... those didn't start being installed until a year or two after ours was built. (Ah. Maybe that's the transformer you mentioned in subsequent posts...)

Wouldn't run any 220V appliances, of course, but then we don't have any of those anyway...

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Old 02-05-2019, 11:22 AM   #64
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I am thinking of adding a solar system to the boat this year, in order to help keep our batteries up when sitting on the hook multiple days. We don't us a lot of power, just need to offset the fridge. The plan is to install the panels on my radar arch. Currently I have extra 14ga wires running to the radar arch.

Last summer I was chatting with a fellow who had solar on his boat and he suggested that I use 2-4 50W panels. The specific panels I am looking at are 50W with Vmp of 18.3V and Imp of 2.9A. From my discussion with this fellow, I believe that this means I should be able to run 2-4 of these in series with a voltage of 36 to 73V. This would put me in the right range to use the existing radar arch wiring to the charge controller.


Not knowing a lot about solar, is this reasonable?
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Old 02-05-2019, 11:40 AM   #65
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I suggest that you use the highest Vmp panels at the highest wattage that will fit into your available real estate. 50 watts will be inadequate for a fridge.

My guess is that you also are planning to use an MTTP controller and if not, you should. The higher voltage panels allow you to get by with smaller wire sizes from your panels to the controller as you seem to already know.......so I recommend you avoid panels with an 18Vmp.

My 4 panels are rated at 295 watts with Vmp around 32. I wired mine with two panels in parallel connected in series with the other two in parallel so the voltage input to the Victron 150-70 (or is it 70-150?) controller is about 64 but does go as high as 70 or so. Keep in mind there are those who do NOT recommend panels be wired in series because of shading. I find shading has little affect on my panel performance.

There is one other thing I want to bring to your attention that you may be already aware of. The maximum safe voltage to be exposed to is around 50V. So you should have a disconnect device between your panels and your controller for safe maintenance of both. Good luck with your plan.... solar is the gift that keeps on giving.
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Old 02-05-2019, 11:46 AM   #66
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I suggest that you use the highest Vmp panels at the highest wattage that will fit into your available real estate. 50 watts will be inadequate for a fridge.

My guess is that you also are planning to use an MTTP controller and if not, you should. The higher voltage panels allow you to get by with smaller wire sizes from your panels to the controller as you seem to already know.......so I recommend you avoid panels with an 18Vmp.

My 4 panels are rated at 295 watts with Vmp around 32. I wired mine with two panels in parallel connected in series with the other two in parallel so the voltage input to the Victron 150-70 (or is it 70-150?) controller is about 64 but does go as high as 70 or so. Keep in mind there are those who do NOT recommend panels be wired in series because of shading. I find shading has little affect on my panel performance.

There is one other thing I want to bring to your attention that you may be already aware of. The maximum safe voltage to be exposed to is around 50V. So you should have a disconnect device between your panels and your controller for safe maintenance of both. Good luck with your plan.... solar is the gift that keeps on giving.

I am planning on using 4 of the 50W panels in series for a total of 200W, so at 18Vmp per panel x 4 = 72V. Was also intending to use an MTTP controller. Understood on the disconnect, it is in the plans.
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Old 02-05-2019, 01:21 PM   #67
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Hi Seevee,
I have solar panels (2 large rigid panels) on the roof of my pilothouse, installed last spring, so I only have experience with them of one summer. I also had solar on my previous boat, a sailboat where I had both rigid and flexible panels (one each).


We installed 2 fairly large panels on the Pilothouse roof of Pilitak (NT37) a year ago. The panels are monocyrstalline, solid aluminum framed with glass tops and are about 280 watts each (if I remember correctly – close anyway).
My suggestions for a solar install:
Put on the largest panels (total output) you can fit! More capacity is better in this case and the price difference in up sizing is not substantial when looking at the whole project.
Use MPPT type of controller, not the PWM type (especially for converting the unused voltage into useable amps). Some suggest using a separate controller for each panel which will maximize battery input when there is partial shading. I only used one Morning Star MPPT controller with a remote panel for “watching what is going on”. Use a quality brand controller (not the place to cut costs). Other good brands include: BlueSky, Outback, Genasun, etc.
Mount them in a location where shading from overhead items will be minimal and unless you are going to automate having the panels “point to the sun”, mount them basically flat, pointing straight up. In the Florida sun (hot), you want good air flow around them (under them as well) for optimal cooling. (As stated above by DW).

I installed mine so as to not penetrate the roof. Worried about future leaks. I attached stainless steel tubing to the existing hand rails above the pilothouse doors, to make a “mounting frame”. I then attached the panels to the tube “frames” using four (4) plastic adjustable “tube mounts”. I did the physical install myself, but did use a marine electrician for the electrical, but it was fairly straight forward for someone with some DIY electrical experience.
Anyway, I am happy with the total install after one season. Any day where the sun was out (not foggy) the solar restored my battery bank back to 100% each day by about 2PM (or earlier). I only ran the generator to make hot water (on a couple of occasions) and when we had heavy fog for a few days! We were out for over 3 months and put about 20 hours on the generator. Most of the time we were at anchor or docks with no power (say 70% of the time). We were out in over 30 knot winds, and did not have any problems with the mounting system.
Some background: we use golf cart 6v batteries totaling about 650 AH and run a fridge/freezer, separate freezer (24/7), electric head, lights, pumps, etc.

My panels are approx. 3 feet by 6 feet each in size. To optimize output, you could use several smaller panels, all with separate controller, but your cost to purchase and install would go way up (compared) and the gain might not be that great (if the available total watts were equal), therefore, cost to benefit may not be there.
Running the generator in the AM to make hotwater, bulk charge the batteries, (and whatever else you may need AC power for) would definitely almost guarantee having a good solar installation getting your batteries back to 100% each day. (I have found that generator running is not needed on most summer days here in western Canada). Your batteries will last longer if brought back to 100% charge (almost) everyday as a side benefit to solar. Without solar (or wind, etc) most boaters who do not "plug in" regularly do not get the batteries back to 100% near often enough for optimal battery life, and are in effect "murdering their batteries".
Hope this helps with your decision,
Tom
Hi,

I'm also thinking to move the solar panel. Where did you take the wires inside your tug and what was your wiring route to the engine room? If you had pictures of installations, it would be great if you could share them here or in a private message.

NBs
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Old 02-06-2019, 07:33 AM   #68
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The usual concept with solar is "bigger IS better"'

With limited space on a boat , I would size the install so the most area can be working.

At a buck a watt , more area working is pretty cheap.
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Old 02-08-2019, 08:32 AM   #69
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Posting again on this threat for you solar experts.....

Regarding the MTTP controller, is it a "smart charger", or control the charge so it's not overcharging?

If not, how does one deal with overcharging?
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Old 02-08-2019, 08:59 AM   #70
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Posting again on this threat for you solar experts.....

Regarding the MTTP controller, is it a "smart charger", or control the charge so it's not overcharging?

If not, how does one deal with overcharging?

I won’t charactize all MTTP as smart chargers, my Victron 70-150 provides features that describes a smart charger. Bulk, absorption and float voltages can be set by the users. It can also do equalization.
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Old 02-08-2019, 09:16 AM   #71
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I won’t charactize all MTTP as smart chargers, my Victron 70-150 provides features that describes a smart charger. Bulk, absorption and float voltages can be set by the users. It can also do equalization.
Foggy,

Is you Victron a charger? If so, how would that affect the solar charging? Confused.
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Old 02-08-2019, 09:44 AM   #72
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Seevee-

It is an MTTP charger. The only purpose of solar on a boat is to charge batteries. Difficult to use for other purposes because solar panel outputs act as constant current sources. That means they try to output current independent to voltage. Look at any of the output power curves showing V/I (I is current) to get a better idea of their output.

One could (NOT RECOMMENDED) connect the output of a 32Vmp panel to charge 12V or even 6V batteries directly, no converter. And they will continue to attempt to charge them right up to the maximum voltage the panel is capable of.
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Old 02-08-2019, 09:58 AM   #73
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Seevee-

It is an MTTP charger. The only purpose of solar on a boat is to charge batteries. Difficult to use for other purposes because solar panel outputs act as constant current sources. That means they try to output current independent to voltage. Look at any of the output power curves showing V/I (I is current) to get a better idea of their output.

One could (NOT RECOMMENDED) connect the output of a 32Vmp panel to charge 12V or even 6V batteries directly, no converter. And they will continue to attempt to charge them right up to the maximum voltage the panel is capable of.
Foggy,

Ahhh, your Victron IS an MTTP, makes sense.
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Old 02-08-2019, 10:02 AM   #74
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Foggy,

Ahhh, your Victron IS an MTTP, makes sense.


Weeeell.......We have both been trapped by the alphabet soup. We are both discussing a maximum power point transfer device, MPPT. I get screwed up on this often
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Old 02-08-2019, 11:14 AM   #75
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Hi,

I'm also thinking to move the solar panel. Where did you take the wires inside your tug and what was your wiring route to the engine room? If you had pictures of installations, it would be great if you could share them here or in a private message.

NBs
Hi North Baltic,
I ran the wires along my newly installed solar panel support rail to the starboard side of the boat. Drilled a small hole in the "drip gutter" that overhangs the sliding pilothouse door and ran the wire towards the stern under the drip gutter to "hide it". It enters the boat near the starboard stern facing pilothouse window with the hole covered by a "clamshell" cover to keep the water out. From there, the wire is visible inside the boat (but I will eventually cover it with a wood "wire cover") and runs down to the roof of the cupboard beside (outboard) of my fridge. Then it runs inside the cabinetry to the back of the electrical panel under the pilot's seat and follows the wiring into the engine room.
Send me a PM with your email address, and I will send you some photos.


Seevee,
The controller (a very important part of the system) acts just like a smart 3 stage charger so as not to overcharge the batteries. If it has the setting for equalization (some do), I would recommend not to use solar for that purpose. MPPT (more expensive than PWM) is the way to go!! Buy a good brand of controller such as Morningstar, Outback, BlueSky, Victron, etc.
Also, wire in a breaker between the panels and the controller and another one between the controller and the batteries.
Best,
Tom
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Old 02-08-2019, 11:36 AM   #76
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Let me respond to a few questions asked above:


I would not wire 4, 50 watt panels in series. That would result in unsafe voltage levels unsuitable for normal DC wiring practices.


You could wire them in series/parallel which would keep the maximum voltage below 50V and result in a maximum current of about 6 amps which would be fine for 14 gauge wire as long as the run isn't too long.


But wiring them in series/parallel requires a more expensive MPPT controller. If you wired them all in parallel you could use a cheaper PWM controller but you will lose 10-15% of the solar panel's output and should go with bigger wire.



American branded MPPT controllers are very expensive and usually cost more than the solar panels themselves. You can buy a 20A Morningstar PWM controller for about $100. An equivalent MPPT controller costs about $300.


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Old 02-08-2019, 01:01 PM   #77
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Dave-

Certainly I agree that higher voltages require a safe installation but should not be avoided because the voltages are above 50V. To say that voltages higher than 50 should be avoided on a boat would mean people should avoid using generators and other line voltage sources.

Today where MPPT cost has plummeted for that of a few years ago, I believe that it is a wiser choice over a PWM controller. But each to his own...
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Old 02-08-2019, 07:43 PM   #78
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FWIW, my attitude is to figure out how many panels you can conveniently fit, and then use the highest quality, highest output panels you can afford. Combine that with a good MPPT controller. Unless you are using the solar to just keep a battery topped off so your bilge pump will be powered (think a sailboat on a mooring), I think that no matter how much solar you have you will still think it would be nice to have a little more.
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Old 02-08-2019, 08:18 PM   #79
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FWIW, my attitude is to figure out how many panels you can conveniently fit, and then use the highest quality, highest output panels you can afford. Combine that with a good MPPT controller. Unless you are using the solar to just keep a battery topped off so your bilge pump will be powered (think a sailboat on a mooring), I think that no matter how much solar you have you will still think it would be nice to have a little more.
Right on Dave! I fully agree with you
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Old 02-08-2019, 08:23 PM   #80
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200W is not a lot of solar. I installed 180W total to maintain batts and because the panels fitted an area on the FB, before we came off a swing mooring onto a marina. It will run a fridge via the batts in daytime, and keeps the batts right up. I connect shorepower for the fridge & freezer, but don`t run the battery charger, solar still sees to that. It`s routed via Morningstar PWM 4 stage controllers. Has been a good installation, DIY too, but if doing it now would opt for MPPT. I would like more panel, but there is no available space on the current boat short of using flexible panels,which imo are not yet as reliable as the rigid version.
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